Does alcohol make us think others are more attractive than they really are?

2023-09-22 08:11:00, Kuriozitete CNA
Does alcohol make us think others are more attractive than they really are?
Illustrative photo

Americans call them "beer goggles". It's a term that refers to the idea that when we drink alcohol, we're more likely to find others attractive.

But is it really so? Several studies have attempted to answer this claim, and the results have never been conclusive.

Now a new study has concluded that the "beer glasses" effect does not exist.

On the contrary, it's likely that when you're drunk, you're more inclined to let yourself associate with those you already liked when you were sober. The findings of this study were published in the "Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs".

Unlike previous studies, the new study led participants to believe that they could later interact with people who were "picking out" images in photos and videos they saw when they were sober, and after consuming alcohol.

"This added the right amount of realism, which has been missing in previous studies," specifies Rebecca Monk, professor of psychology who was not involved in the study in question.

A "liquid" courage

The researchers included 18 groups of male friends in the study (2 at a time to recreate the typical social interaction of an evening spent with friends at the bar).

They were asked to rate how attractive men and women were in pictures and various videos shown on a screen.

On one occasion, they were asked to drink vodka and cranberry juice, reaching a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent (the maximum legal limit in England).

On another occasion, they were asked to drink soft drinks. The results showed that the participants did not find the people in the photos more attractive when they drank alcohol.

Meanwhile, when drunk, they were 1.71 times more likely to interact with those they liked more than when drinking non-alcoholic beverages.

"We found that alcohol consumption increased what we call 'liquid courage,' or the desire to interact with people we find more attractive," explains Monk.


Given the effects of alcohol on visual and cognitive processing functions, it is likely that the results would have been different had the levels of alcohol intoxication been increased.

Monk points out that in any case, it is important that when drinking alcohol people are aware of the consequences. They need to know that they can be pleasant in the short term, but harmful in the long term./ Adapted from CNA

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